EMCO may move HQ from North Chicago to Pleasant Prairie

North Chicago, Ill.-based EMCO Chemical Distributors Inc., which last year announced plans move some of its operations to a building in Pleasant Prairie, may also move its corporate headquarters to the facility.
Currently, the company is focusing on moving manufacturing and distribution operations to the Pleasant Prairie building, said EMCO president Edward Polen. Once that process is complete, the company will examine plans to move its corporate headquarters to the building, he said.
“If everything is right, there is a very good chance we will move (the headquarters) up there,” Polen said.
A top village official also said he had heard that the company may move its headquarters to Pleasant Prairie.
"I believe they are working with the (state Department of) Commerce on moving their headquarters up here," said Pleasant Prairie Village Administrator Michael Pollocoff.  “I know they are looking at it."
Department of Commerce spokesman Tony Hozeny declined to comment for this report.
In December, EMCO announced that it had a contract to purchase a 259,580-square-foot building, with a 25-car rail siding, at 8601 95th St., Pleasant Prairie, from Hexicon Specialty Chemicals, which ceased operations there in 2009.
Last week, the Village Board approved $10 million in tax-exempt industrial development revenue bond financing to assist EMCO in purchasing and customizing the facility for its needs. The village authorizes the tax exempt status but the company will issue the bonds and is responsible for repayment.
EMCO plans to use the Pleasant Prairie facility to blend and distribute specialty chemicals.
It will take at least another year for the company to move its manufacturing and distribution operations into the Pleasant Prairie facility, Polen said. About 100 employees will work at the facility for those operations.
The company’s packaging operations will remain in North Chicago, even if the headquarters are moved to Pleasant Prairie, Polen said.
EMCO purchased the Pleasant Prairie facility because it needed more space for its operations, Polen said.
The company has also run out of office space to expand in North Chicago. The Pleasant Prairie building has more office space than the North Chicago facility, which is why the headquarters may be moved, Polen said. He said he was not sure of the exact amount of office space at each building.
“Our office space is very congested in North Chicago,” Polen said. “When we add people here, somebody is going to have to sit in somebody else’s lap.”
Polen declined to say how many additional employees would be moved to Pleasant Prairie if the company moves its corporate headquarters there.
EMCO, which had sales of $219 million in 2009 according to its website, also has a waste transfer and storage facility at 9114 58th Place, Suite 900, Kenosha.
EMCO is just one of several businesses in the Chicago area that have moved some of their operations to Kenosha County in recent years including:

  • Waukegan, Ill.-based Uline Inc., which is building a new corporate headquarters at I-94 and Highway 165 in Pleasant Prairie, and will bring about 1,000 employees to the office complex and distribution center there. Construction of the corporate headquarters is expected to be complete later this year.
  • Brightree LLC recently moved the offices of one of its medical billing operations, with about 80 employees, from Antioch, Ill. 7.5 miles north to Paddock Lake, a village in western Kenosha County.
  • Chicago-based First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. built a 600,000-square-foot distribution center northeast of 52nd Street and 88th Avenue in Kenosha, for Vernon Hills, Ill.-based Rust-Oleum Corp.
  • Waukegan, Ill.-based Coleman Cable Inc. leased a 502,000-square-foot industrial building at 11290 80th Ave., Pleasant Prairie, which was built by Oak Brook, Ill.-based CenterPoint Properties.

Yet despite those gains, Kenosha County’s unemployment rate is at 11.6 percent (non seasonally adjusted), according to the state Department of Workforce Development, which exceeds the state’s 9.8 percent non seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, and the U.S. non seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 10.2 percent.

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